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Sankofa Song

Mixed media

Gretchen Sandiford


Gretchen Sandiford

BACKGROUND: The history of the Sankofa bird is so moving. 2020, I decided to create a piece of artwork about her. I created a collage as my chosen medium to work in. The background of the work is made out of banana fibre packaging paper, tissue paper, and African printed fabric. I illustrated the Sankofa drum player directly onto the banana paper again using various mediums like chalk, paint, pencil. The Sankofa bird was independently made earlier and added to this work.
A woman dances barefoot amongst the fallen leaves and branches. She sings in a soulful voice,
Go pick up the best
Of what belongs to you
From your past
And bring it to your future.
The response to this song comes from the Sankofa man drum player. He repeats the sounds of her words on a talking drum. The Sankofa bird displays its famous stance of the head, turned backwards while its body is facing forward.
(Carter G. Woodson Centre, 2020)

Sankofa is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The literal translation of the word and the symbol is “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.”
The word is derived from the words:
SAN (return)
KO (go),
FA (look, seek and take)







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